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The Cambridge Illustrated Atlas of Warfare: The Middle Ages, 768–1487 (1996)

by Nicholas Hooper, Matthew Bennett (Author)

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941215,157 (3.9)None
This book offers a highly readable account of warfare in Europe and the Mediterranean from the Battle of Poitiers to the Wars of the Roses. With an emphasis on superb full-colour cartography and illustration, The Cambridge Illustrated Atlas of Warfare: The Middle Ages, 768-1487 focuses on military strategy, debunking some of the prevailing myths of medieval warfare. Often characterized as an era dominated by lone knights and long sieges, the Middle Ages in fact had a military culture as sophisticated and complex as our own, with organized armies and a high degree of tactical intelligence. This complexity is detailed in maps, plans, and an informative text. Development of naval warfare, cavalry, and siege tactics are all covered, as is the nature of contemporary logistics and contemporary understanding of the science of warfare.… (more)

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I don't usually make it a habit to read dictionaries or encyclopedias, or even atlases, but since the subject of this book was Medieval warfare I assumed that I would find it somewhat informing and entertaining, at least, to me. It fills the role of "atlas" quite well, providing the reader plenty of maps and a chronology of warfare, along with the many advancements of warfare during the period.
It would be hard to label this book as some sort of "required" reading for the student or enthusiast as all of the information contained wherein can be found in many other, and better, sources. Still, it is not a wast of time reading it.
I found the first couple of sections of the book rather tedious and boring, but as the study advanced to post 1066 it seemed to settle down into a comfortable rhythm and dispensed with the tedium of date and place regurgitation. I found the last section, "The Theory and Practice of Medieval Warfare", very interesting. It quickly covered topics such as arms and armor, military manuals, naval warfare and seige warfare,
The most striking thing I noticed about this book was its lack of useful illustrations. The maps were extremely "busy" and really not worth the effort. The photo inserts were in many cases very small, hard to make out, and quite useless. Overall, coffee table material to be read, not browsed. ( )
  Poleaxe | Nov 12, 2009 |
One problem with the Atlas, however, is its lack of documentation. There are no footnotes or endnotes, and it is for the most part impossible to glean from the text the primary source documentation on which the narrative and arguments are based. Yet this problem is perhaps not so significant when one takes into account Hooper and Bennett's stated goal to open up the most current research to a wider audience. The Atlas is above all a well-wrought compilation and summary of the arguments made by current experts in medieval military history.
added by jburlinson | editSpeculum, Jeffrey Heinen (pay site) (Jan 1, 1998)
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hooper, NicholasAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bennett, MatthewAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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This book offers a highly readable account of warfare in Europe and the Mediterranean from the Battle of Poitiers to the Wars of the Roses. With an emphasis on superb full-colour cartography and illustration, The Cambridge Illustrated Atlas of Warfare: The Middle Ages, 768-1487 focuses on military strategy, debunking some of the prevailing myths of medieval warfare. Often characterized as an era dominated by lone knights and long sieges, the Middle Ages in fact had a military culture as sophisticated and complex as our own, with organized armies and a high degree of tactical intelligence. This complexity is detailed in maps, plans, and an informative text. Development of naval warfare, cavalry, and siege tactics are all covered, as is the nature of contemporary logistics and contemporary understanding of the science of warfare.

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